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Barbecue Paella with Chicken, Shrimp & Chorizo Sausage

Ben Fink

Servings: 12 to 14

A popular rice dish, paella originated in the Valencia region of Spain, and can made with a multitude of different ingredients, including chicken, pork, shellfish, fish, eel, sausage, beans, peas, peppers, or artichokes. Many believe that there are only three essential ingredients: rice, olive oil, and saffron (which turns the rice a vibrant golden color). Paella is perfect for the outdoor grill because you need to start off hot and gradually reduce the temperature.

This recipe was excerpted from Fire & Smoke. Read our review.


For the seasoning rub

  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 4 tsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. onion salt
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. dried coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder

For the paella

  • 1-1/2 tsp. saffron threads
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. chorizo, chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, white parts chopped and green parts sliced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups medium-grain rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb. extra-jumbo shrimp (16/20 count), peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed


Make the rub

  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt, garlic salt, paprika, black pepper, onion salt, celery salt, white pepper, ginger, thyme, coriander and curry powder.

Make the paella

  • Build a charcoal fire for direct grilling and preheat it to 400°F.
  • Put a small saucepan on the grate directly over the fire. Add the saffron threads and toast them until you can smell the saffron aroma, about 1-1/2 minutes. Add 2 cups water, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the grill and set aside.
  • Season the chicken thighs evenly with 1/4 cup of the seasoning rub.
  • Put a paella pan or an 18-inch cast iron skillet over direct heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, put the chicken into the pan and sear until nicely browned, 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  • Put the chorizo into the hot pan and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, scallion whites, jalapeño, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the vegetables brown slightly and soften, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat in oil.
  • Toast the rice for 2 minutes. Pour in the white wine and stir, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Pour in the saffron water, return the chicken to the pan, and cover with the chicken stock.
  • Reduce the temperature to 350°F, close the grill lid, and cook for 10 minutes. Open the grill and stir in the shrimp and peas. Close the lid and cook until the rice is done and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175°F, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove the paella from the grill and serve it directly from the pan.


This recipe makes more seasoning rub than you need (1/2 cup) but leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to 6 months. It’s great on both chicken and vegetables.


Rate or Review

Reviews (3 reviews)

  • Farls | 09/11/2018

    This recipe is always a hit and has become a favorite request of friends and family. I make extra spice rub even though the recipe doubles what is needed and use it for chicken nights (Friends rave about the chicken whenever it is served)! For a big crowd I also will add scallops for those who love sea food. Sear them in the pan right after the chicken and finish them off later when the shrimp is added.

  • s7murphy | 08/18/2016

    I love this method of cooking the paella directly in my kettle grill. Great dish for a party! I did think the spice rub was a little odd so I just skipped it, so the saffron flavor comes through much better.

  • User avater
    Suisen | 10/19/2014

    You can call it whatever you want but that isn't paella. Authentic paella doesn't use any rub, and much less coriander, ginger nor curry. I am Spanish and have cooked hundreds of paella, be it barbecued or not. Please don't mislead people.

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